Dinner Party

Heavenly Buttery Made With No Butter Scrambled Eggs

October 21, 2016
I did not take this photo, but yours should look nice and yellow like this!

I did not take this photo, but yours should look nice and yellow like this!

I am sort of the Queen of Scrambled Eggs. It sounds like an odd title to give oneself, but once you’ve tried my scrambled eggs you too will want to anoint me into the Kitchen Kingdom.

These eggs are both buttery, creamy and cheesy whilst containing absolutely no butter, cream or cheese. Of course you can add any of the above to make these even more decadent, but honestly these stand out and are quite rich all on their own.

It seems like an odd recipe to share, since there isn’t too much of a recipe. More like me whispering a secret into your ear so you too can know the mystery behind the best Buttery Made With No Butter Scrambled Eggs.

Best Buttery Made With No Butter Scrambled Eggs

You Will Need:

  • 1 dozen good quality eggs. I can not stress the importance of this. If you don’t use organic-free range, your eggs just simply are not going to taste as good.
  • Some sort of non-stick spray situation for your frying pan.
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (this is optional-you can also oddly add water to eggs which makes them fluffy-but I prefer whole milk for the richness.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

*This recipe is for three people and we all like to eat a lot of eggs, so feel free to adjust your egg amount accordingly.

Spray your non-stick pan with whatever non-stick spray situation you have handy. Turn on stove heat to just low, like the lowest it will go on the thermometer (above a simmer but lowest heat.) On my ghetto stove in my apartment this would be a “2”; otherwise our house smells like gas and I fear for our lives.

In a bowl crack seven eggs. Don’t ask me why I use seven for three people, but I do. You can adjust this for how many eggs you like to consume and how many mouths you have to feed.

Add milk to eggs, I like to add about 1/3 cup whole milk for seven eggs. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY, but I feel like it does add a creamy-richness. Whisk those babies like you’ve never whisked before or at least until you have a nice frothy-light-yellow egg batter to work with. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper and pour into your just barely-heated frying pan.

Now here comes the bit arduous laborious part. You must stand and stir and pull away from the edges for about twenty minutes. People are going to come into the kitchen and want to distract you. Your arm is going to get tired and you are going to get bored. You will want to turn those sloth-slow eggs up to medium and get the job done! Yet, fight this urge. Use all will power you’ve ever had. This is truly the key to getting creamy eggs. The higher the heat the dryer the eggs. Keep em low and sadly very. very slow. Normally it takes about twenty minutes depending on how “wet” or “well-cooked” you like your scrambled eggs.

Serve and let people salt and taste them to their liking. Now be called King or Queen of Scrambled Eggs. God Save the Queen!

I did not take this photo either, but is supposed to motivate you to wanna make.

I did not take this photo either, but is supposed to motivate you to want to make.

Insider's Guide NYC

Greatest Happy Hour Ever In Honor of #Nationalpastaday and Everday

October 17, 2016
Have you ever seen such a beautiful bar?

Have you ever seen such a beautiful bar?

Don’t you love when you stumble upon somewhere and it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you? This is what occurred the other night after declining the restaurant we had planned on, due to a waitress we despise. (We shall not name said place as I have good manners.:) Needless to say we kept walking down Orchard Street on the Lower East Side until we hit Division and found ourselves once again at Bacaro.

I’ve waxed poetically on about this place before:

Bacaro-Perfect Winter Restaurant

But, I had no idea they had the happy hour of your la dolce vita dreams.

First, and this is the biggest first ever, they have aperol spritzes for seven dollars. Not just any spritz either, legit, the BEST SPRITZ I have ever had. The lovely-warm-bartender, Alain, adds a lemon rind and this just brings it to a whole other level. Best spritz in the city by far!

Such beauty in a glass, look at that lemon rind!

Such beauty in a glass, look at that lemon rind!

The bar itself is beautiful marble with an antique cabinet proudly and artfully displaying all the liquor and alcohol. Aside from a warm bartender and the best cocktail to ever hit your lips this side of Sicily, it has some of the yummiest-reasonably priced nibbles. Let’s not forget that this is the sister restaurant to Nolita’s illustrious Peasant restaurant, so you know every dish that comes out is going to be pure perfection and this is the case even for their happy hour appetizers. Incredible crostinis with the likes of perfectly whipped ricotta and freshly shelled peas. Hot and creamy salted cod and potato on a lightly olive oil-brushed and toasted piece of bread. And did I mention these bites of mouth-watering joy are $1?!?!!? That’s correct, you just read one dollar. The other day I bought gum at the deli and it was $4.00, so you get my drift here. Yet, my favorite happy hour dish that I literally think about during the day like a fat kid who loves cake, is the tuna sandwich. I know, you are probably pondering what does an Italian place know about tuna? Well, according to this, evidently everything! Because I have eaten more tuna sandwiches then a Red Sox fan has eaten hotdogs and this is THE BEST TUNA SANDWICH I HAVE EVER CONSUMED! Now, when I say sandwich, what I really should be saying is “tea sandwich.” It’s a crustless configuration of salty sumptuousness. Italian tuna with olives and purple onion in the perfect blend, covered with herbs and served with a hard-boiled egg. I can not begin to tell you how truly delectable this is. So much so that we tend to order at least two.

Also, if you go beyond happy hour their “regular menu” is filled with beyond exquisite Italian food. We had the special stuffed artichoke which was covered in breadcrumbs and cheese and sat in a pool of white wine sauce.

Artichoke.

The newly added vegetarian lasagna with smoked mozzarella and creamy béchamel was devoured in under four minutes flat and discussed around the house for the next week. Each dish that comes out of the kitchen is so thoughtfully presented with only the freshest and finest ingredients. I can not tell you what a joy it is to enter and savor all the delights that is, Bacaro. From the rustic warm vibe, to the incredibly friendly staff, it truly is a slice of la dolce vita in the best way possible and their happy hours is one of my most favorite discoveries by happenstance in recent years.

Bacaro Link

Blah Blah Blah, Thoughts

What Will Your Legacy Be?

October 9, 2016

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What’s your legacy going to be?

The word “legacy” seems to be trending right now on my self-help sites and blogs.

It is the “mindful” of the moment, the “kale” of yoga/health-conscious trends. Yet, in my head, I always thought that legacy had more to do with when you were “older”, when you had “kids” etc.

Yet, yesterday I read that legacy starts NOW with a ripple effect. For some reason this really shook me and gave my heart a light tremor.

It’s no secret that my theme this month and for the past while has really been feeling like I’m just not where I want to be, or more precisely, THOUGHT I would be in life. So the word legacy makes me a little predisposed to feel slightly-inwardly panicked. I’ve sat on this for a few days now, but I really keep circling back to the thought that your legacy starts NOW.

My next brain wave was that legacy doesn’t need to be defined in the archaic Americana way many of us think of it. For instance, my first understanding of the mental image of the word, is doing so well financially in life, that you buy a Hall at your old Alma Mater and have it named after you; now that’s a proper legacy!

But, the more I meditated on the concept, the more I thought that your legacy CAN start today with small acts.

Just the other morning my Mom and I were crossing the street right when a blind man was coming from the other direction. Next to him coming from behind was a taller gentleman in sweat pants. I noticed that he was walking up to this blind man and I turned to look as they passed. I could see that he had taken the blind man by his arm, locking arms the way you would an old friend or confidant. Leading him across the cross walk while holding him and telling jokes the whole time. If anyone had looked they would have thought the two were old friends. Yet really, a total stranger with such a pure act of goodness. They got to the other side and parted with a wave and a smile. My Mom and I stood there in awe, both near tears with our croissant crumbs nearly falling out of our agape mouths.

It made me think, this is the type of legacy I’d like to start within my own ripple effect. We are all capable of small acts of kindness on a daily basis. Your legacy doesn’t have to be millions of dollars and the “perfect life.” It can be changing a “perfect stranger’s” day.

“Be the wind that makes the waves.”

One of my favorite quotes shared by one of my oldest and dearest friends years ago.

If one small breath or smile of kindness could shift someone’s day/destiny and if that is all the legacy I have for right now, then I am ok with that; more than ok.

*the ice artwork can be seen here:

http://nicoledextras.com/portfolio/social-typography/legacy-2/

Blah Blah Blah, The Truth No One Wants To Tell You, Thoughts

How Do You Make Luck?

October 3, 2016

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For many years I had the notion or mental image that I would have a piece of good fortune that would steer the course to my future. It would be a catalyst of sorts that would push me in the directions I needed to go. I couldn’t exactly tell you what it was specifically, but in my mind I would meet someone or something would happen and then I would be on my “path.” Yet, the older I get the more abundantly clear it is that that might just not very well happen.

Now, if your first thought is, “you have to make your own luck,” let me just stop you there. I agree to some extent yet, I also strongly feel like the universe needs to give you or send you some luck.

My sister has a friend whose luck is truly ridiculous. She seems to be laced in horseshoes and talismans. I am not sure what it is about her, but she will say she wants something and somehow the universe sends it to her. Like one of those stork cartoons it just comes swooping down and drops it in her lap. She seemingly flows from one serendipitous moment to the next, blessing after good luck blessing falling towards her. While I sit here unable to procure the flukeish luck of a parking spot.

So what is it? What makes some people lucky and others not? And most importantly how do you make luck? It is something I’ve been wondering about, pondering for the last couple weeks.

Will my luck come in my next life? And who really cares about that? Are you reading this thinking, but you are indeed lucky? That angle doesn’t really work for me either. So how do I make luck? How do I conjure kismet?

I try to be a good person. That always seems like a nice place to start. Yet, it feels like luck is something you are either born with or not. You are either born with blue eyes or not; same goes for luck. So if you don’t have it or aren’t born with it, how do you get it?

I spoke with my friend last week who was visiting from out of town and she told me that she really has to work hard at things, that “things don’t just come easily to her.” I understood this, not sure if I would go as far as to deem her “unlucky” but, would certainly say she wasn’t blessed with the luck gene. Another friend of mine told me that the two of us “would just always have things harder than other people, that things would always be tougher and more of a struggle for us.” Again, my thought is f*ck so I am indeed just unlucky.

So what am I supposed to do with this? Continue my day knowing it will always be uphill for me and never an easy road? Assume things aren’t going to fall in my lap and that lucky moment I’ve been waiting for will just never happen? Or do I have to go out and try to make my own luck? And if that’s the case does someone have an instruction manual on how to do so?

It is really something I contemplate and genuinely wonder. Just how, just how am I supposed to make my own luck? More to come…

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Dinner Party

PERFECTLY CREAMY AND EASY BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING

September 27, 2016
I did not take this photo and my portions are much larger but should entice you to make.

I did not take this photo and my portions are much larger but should entice you to make.

I love pudding. Puddings of all kinds; tapioca, pistachio, caramel, you name it, I’ll eat it. I’m not sure what it is about the gooey stuff, but I find some odd comfort in it. My Mom makes me tapioca all the time. It’s a household staple. Yet, some I feel can be strangely intimidating. When I was looking up recipes I was reading things like “temperate the egg.” I’m not sure what kind of intermediate chef knows how to do this, but I do not. However, this recipe is so easy and, seriously, such a crowd pleaser. It’s a no fail recipe that you really can’t mess up. I’ve doubled it to great success. Served it warm with milk and chilled with strawberries. It’s quite sweet with a creaminess of the added butter. Dare I venture to say it’s one of the best butterscotch puddings I’ve ever had?

I feel like butterscotch is the perfect fall flavor, both in color as well as name. Try it, you’ll be a star and comforted as well as exalted by all who try.

Perfectly Creamy and Easy Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

You Will Need:

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk (you can go fat-free if you are one of those but I like whole for the creaminess and use organic for f*cks sake people.)
  • 2 egg yolks (lightly beaten and again organic.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (this is very important so use good quality-I LOVE KATE’S BUTTER more than life itself-so try it if you can find it.)
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract depending on how sweetly vanilla you like.

Recipe:

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch. Then add milk and egg yolks; stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling stir for 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. A lot of the time when I’ve made this during this step you can get some lumps, fear not. Simply whisk those bad boys out, no problemo.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. From here you can serve warm (my Mom and I like to eat ours rather hot because we are monsters and can not wait.) Or you can chill in fridge like a normal person. Again, if you want to double this recipe because you might be like me and enjoy eating proper spaghetti-bowl-sized-portions of pudding, this seriously doubles perfectly well. Simply best butterscotch pudding ever.

EAT ME!

EAT ME!

Insider's Guide NYC

NYC’S BEST CROISSANT-NOW ON MY BLOCK-CECI CELA

September 21, 2016

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My favorite little cafe/patisserie with the world’s best lattes and French pastries has moved to my block. I know, somewhere the diet gods are laughing. Do you know how hard it is when you are feeling a little peckish around four o’clock to NOT go get a delicious baked good? It is a testament of will power unlike any other, one that I have not been winning lately.

Why is it so hard you ask?

Because Ceci Cela which is now quite literally on my corner has the best croissants in all of NYC.

I do not take this lightly, I take croissants as seriously as Morimoto takes his fish. There is nothing worse than one which has so sacrilegiously been made with margarine. Not here, Ceci Cela is as French as Eric Ripert (what’s with all my chef analogies-side note his book 32 Yolks is quite good.)   Buttery-flaky croissants that literally leave a wake of crumbs in your lap as you eat (no doubt crumbs which must be licked up as dessert.) They are exactly as a croissant is intended to be, light and fluffy with layer upon layer of perfectly toasted pastry. To say it’s mouth-watering heaven would be an understatement.

Truly though, everything I’ve ever had at Ceci Cela has been excellent, you can read about their spinach-spanikopita-like pastry here:

Best Coffee and Croissants In the World, or NY At Least: Ceci-Cela, Nolita

 

Their new location offers freshly squeezed orange juice and lots of great easy sandwiches to pick-up on the go. It’s Parisian and quaint with confectionaries for the eyes and belly. Definitely worth a swing by and most likely you will see me there with a croissant in my mouth and a dog and crumbs in my lap.

http://www.cecicelanyc.com/

Blah Blah Blah, The Truth No One Wants To Tell You, Thoughts

Life Is Messy No Matter How Much OCD You Have

September 12, 2016
Father Time waits for no one.

Father Time waits for no one.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog. I’ve been dealing with the “realness” of fall and trying to clean up my life, my act and just generally get in gear and get it together. But, here’s the thing and my realization is–life is messy, no matter how much OCD you have.

Fall is always a time for rebirth, getting back into the “school of life.” Lord that sounds dorky, yet isn’t it true? I still run on a collegiate clock and fall means reflection and waking up to an alarm clock that buzzes, “what in of the f*ck are you doing with your life?”

I have long since past my “scary age.” Doesn’t everyone have “that scary age” when you were in your twenties, you heard it ring out, said aloud and uttered by those in their thirties or forties and thought, “God that’s old, by the time I’m that age I’ll have my sh*t together and be a Forbes cover of the perfect successful adult.”

Um, yeah my scary age was quite literally two years ago.

I’ve gotten to the point where there is a little heart flip in me that wonders when I look at calendars or truly think about my position in life, if I’ll ever get to the place of the person I wanted to be, the person I had always envisioned?

Now my friends and I discuss not having kids, and being great aunties. Not that I ever necessarily wanted babies, but the way Father Time is dealing my cards, will that even be an option for me?

But, here is the thing I DO want to take away from all of this and utilize on this blog, these things. Yes, I’m obviously going to always give my restaurant, movie, food, music recommendations-but, I also REALLY want to converse about the underbelly of life. I’ve found if you enter a dialogue with people about these things everyone is feeling this way on some level or another. We all have fears, doubts and worries that make us human and really make us all alike. Everyone’s life is messy and I’m over worrying about tidying it up and all about embracing the grime that plagues us all. From now on you can find this section under the “thoughts” and the “stuff no one wants to talk about.” More to come….

 

 

Dinner Party

Best Potato Chips In the World-North Fork Potato Chips

August 26, 2016

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Some people are connoisseurs of fine wine. Some love artisanal chocolate from the far-flung regions of the rain forest, diving into all the different varieties of cacao. Many it seems are bonkers for truffles, hunting them out like crazed women at the Manolo Blahnik sample sale. I myself, am a true connoisseur of the regal potato chip. Now you might be thinking, is she seriously going to dedicate an entire blog post to potato chips? Why, yes, yes I am, kind reader.
I love chips. The salt, the crunch, the pucker your tongue gets if you get true blue salt & vinegar. Oh how I love salt & vinegar chips. I’m having a love affair with them right now. I’ve tried all of them. Don’t even start with referencing some outlandish chip company recommendation, because I guarantee I have indeed sampled them. But, let me tell you there is one brand that stands tall above all kettle and the like. Drum role please…I give you The North Fork Potato Chip.
There is something about their chips and, of course, specifically, no doubt I am referencing the salt n’ vinegar variety. They are almost sweet? Like perhaps they are using apple cider vinegar? Yet, I get no detection of taste of apple cider. They remind me of way back when in the 80s my parents would covet these chips from Hawaii that I believe were called Maui Wowie chips or something of that ilk. Super salty and crispy but with a hint of sweetness. That’s what North Fork chips taste like to me. I literally can’t make it home from the car without opening the bag. The company themselves have a great story of local farmers turning a new chapter with their crop. I love buying local, and you can too-they have an easy website to order what you want.

farm life

farm life

I am telling you if you are having a party or are just a chip head like moi you seriously need to check them out. Plus, you have the good conscience to know you are supporting local farmers and not Lay’s who definitely don’t need your money. And unlike Lay’s (yes I’m chip shaming here) these actually taste like potatoes! Yes, this is an entire write-up on chips, but if you are like me those that love them take them as seriously as the aforementioned truffle-head wine sipping-yuppies. North Fork Potato Chips, best in all the land, I guarantee it.

chipsinabowel

North Fork Chip Link

Soundtrack of My Life

Song For Last Days of Summer-“Looking For Knives” by Dyan

August 22, 2016

Screen shot 2016-08-22 at 12.10.53 PM
My pre-fall anxiety has hit me full swing today. A quick glance at the calendar, a step outside to feel the drop in temperature and I am in panic mode. I get like this every end of summer, never quite being able to ditch my adolescent ways at the dread of “having to go back to school.” I am capricious and moody, longing to hold on to the last rays of summer. As with everything in my life however, a song can quickly change my color, and this jam by Dyan is paradoxically calming and motivating all at once. Where has this band been all my life?
I like nothing more than a “mood-setter,” tunes you can have playing in the background at a dinner party or in the car. This one, “Looking For Knives” is nothing short of electric-syntho-pop perfection. My prescription for “Looking For Knives” is to listen whilst driving, preferably down a tree-lined road with sunbeams warming the interior and a window cracked just so.
Yesterday, my sister received advice that when in a funk one should drive by oneself and listen to great music; I couldn’t agree more. So if you are feeling like me and a little heavy today, listen to “Looking For Knives.” It will help lift your spirit and remind you to cherish the bit of summer we have left.


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DYAN-LINK

Dinner Party

World’s Best Bran Muffins

August 17, 2016

as if I took this, but you get the idea

as if I took this, but you get the idea


Bran muffins. They tend to be the sad little orphan of baked goods. Sitting in the corner while everyone goes for the cake-like blueberry. Bran muffins can be sort of hard, dare I say mealy at times? I think they get a bad wrap as a “healthy” muffin that sacrifices taste for fiber. Yet, that is because you’ve never really had a GREAT bran muffin….that is, until now.
This recipe is adapted from the OG of baking, Martha. The dates give it a sweetness, and the orange rind a freshness so normally lacking. These are super easy, if you follow the instructions and one of the most important things I think when baking muffins is to never over blend. With cake batter I feel like you work those lumps til they disappear; yet, here you just want everything barely blended.
These will make your house smell like heaven. They are fantastic straight out of the oven with a little butter melting in, or cooled down with a sharp cheddar. No matter how you make them, they are truly delicious and will wipe away any pre-conceived notions you might have about bran muffins.

World’s Best Bran Muffins Recipe
You Will Need:
• 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ cups wheat bran
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ cups sour cream
• ¼ cup molasses
• 1 ½ cups chopped dates
• 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
• 2 ripe bananas smushed to a pulp (I added this and is totally optional.)

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 375. Butter or grease a 12-cup muffin tin (though I always end up making around 14-so if you have a couple extra grease those too.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and bran; set to the side.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a regular beater if you don’t have an electric mixer) beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high until it’s nice and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until they are blended in. Add the sour cream and molasses and beat on LOW UNTIL JUST BLENDED (remember we talked about this?!!?)
Fold in reserved flour mixture, then dates, then banana if you are using. Just barely mix do not OVER STIR HERE! Divide evenly in muffin tins. Bake about 22-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Enjoy your first ever mouth-watering bran muffin.